‘Young people can’t listen anymore’ was a remark made recently at a social gathering to storyteller Niall de Burca, who made his annual appearance in Clongowes recently. He didn’t agree and neither do the many students in Clongowes, who have been entertained by his unique brand of storytelling over the years. We were lucky Niall could fit us in to his busy schedule as he travels the world with his stories. His travelling feeds his portfolio, ensuring there is always something newly fresh amongst his favourites.
His stand-up paddle boarding (SUP) experience in Hawaii (whilst fearing the appearance of tiger sharks) prompted the telling of his first story to Elements. Then he brought them back in time to Cúchulainn and his encounters with a banshee. For Rudiments it was his experience of living in New Zealand for a number of years that allowed him perform an impressive tale of Maori warrior legend with authentic haka moves. He finished his Rudiment’s session through the fun yet scary tale ‘Fiddle – de –di’. It is one of my favourites yet. I never tire of hearing it and jump at the scary parts still!
There is a magic to the intimacy de Burca forms with his audience, his voice and body adapting to different characters, from the jaunty cheeky Dublin youth to the looming keening Banshee that swings the audience from comfort and fun to unease and fear within seconds. De Burca is a master at his art and we are privileged and grateful to experience this now rare form of entertainment
There was no hurry on either year group to leave the world of tales immersed in by de Burca. His ability to entrance a young audience, more accustomed to electronic gadgetry for entertainment, was true to form again this year.
Ms Jane O’Loughlin, Librarian